Thursday, March 23, 2006

Ohio blue eyes

Julie and I saddled up to the bar for salads and a quick drink after taking in a chick flick. Next to us sat a middle-aged suit with gray hair and blue eyes. The guy is kinda wobbling on his bar stool when he asks us, "How far is it to 57th Street?"
"About nine blocks that way."
"Is that far? I'm in town for a pharmaceutical convention over at the Javits Center--I come to town about three times a year-- and I usually stay at the Crown Plaza near Times Square, but they wanted $300 a night, and that's too much. Tonight, I'm staying at the Holiday Inn at 57th Street."
At this point, this guy has told us more about himself than any non-homeless stranger has in a year, so I'm nodding politely and Julie is rolling her eyes.
"I'm so hammered. I came in here three hours ago for a drink on my way back to the hotel, and I started talking to these Irish guys. Now I'm smashed."

"You definitely nee to catch a cab then. You can't wander around in Hell's Kitchen smashed," I say.
"I know."

Minutes pass while he stares at his last beer.

"Hey girls, sorry to bother you, but how far is it to 57th Street?"
We start cracking up. This poor guy from Ohio is so cute, and we're a little afraid he's gonna get mugged on his way home. I tell him so.
"You think I'll get mugged?!"
"Well, I would mug you."

He starts again with his story about how he's in town for a pharmaceutical convention, so we start fucking with him.
"Where are you staying? Have you ever visited Ohio? Why didn't you stay at the Crown Plaza, I've heard that's a great hotel."

We finally convince him to catch a cab. He pays the bill and goes.

Julie and I were having a good laugh about how cute the little Mid-Western guy was and how we're sure his wife is worried about him hanging out in a bar in Hell's Kitchen for three hours. Then the bartender came up to tell us that the guy was actually in town for a pornography convention and that his "pharmaceutical" company really manufactures and sells vibrators for women.

My jaw dropped and Julie says, "Dammit! We could've gotten some free samples!"

Monday, March 20, 2006

Goodbye, Bulgarian Hip Hop Club

It looks like the Bulgarian Hip Hop Club downtown is closing its doors to make room for a hotel.

It's sad. I loved dancing in a club that plays songs in other languages while groups of foreign men yell the lyrics at the top of their lungs and suddenly raise their beers while they hold a note I don't understand. I hope they keep the party going somehow.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

hearts and smiley faces

When your totally sober sweetheart puts his bath towel on the floor to pad your knees while you throw up into the toilet because you drank too much on your welcome-to-your-late-20s birthday, you know you are lucky in love.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

I couldn't sleep the night before

My friend Brandi never has to wonder whether I trust her completely. I proved my utter faith when I let her put a blindfold over my eyes and lead me through the streets of Manhattan. In heels. And a skirt that only let me take small steps.

After a couple of blocks of clutching her arm (how do newly blind people get used to that? i was nervous everytime i heard someone coming near me), we stopped at a door buzzer. Now, Brandi had let it slip that part of my surprse birthday party included dinner at a Korean BBQ place, but she still wanted me to wear the blindfold so that I wouldn't see who had come to the party until she removed it and everyone yelled Happy Birthday.

So it didn't make sense that we were going into a house with a door buzzer. We walked up two flights of stairs (well, she walked and I wobbled blindly) and I finally heard the strains of Holiday by Madonna. SURPRISE! It was a karaoke party at my favorite ghetto singing bar!! A bunch of my very awesome friends were there, including a few from work who did a helluva job pretending like there was nothing going on. Moving from person to smiling person, hugging each one while my heart pumps madly from having people suddenly scream in my face... it's one of those freeze-frame moments that will surely replay at the end of my life. I just kept saying, "Oh, yay!"

There was a HUGE, beautiful cake from John (along with those damn candles that refuse to BLOW OUT ALREADY!) Megann made crawfish turnovers and crab-stuffed peppers, and there was enough liquor to wreck 100 livers. Oh, yay!

We boozed it up and sang until our voices gave out, and I went home beaming.

Thanks for throwing me such a fun party, you guys. It beats the heck out of OD'ing on drugs to wrap up my 27th year. On to year 28, starting in about 12 hours. I hope it's as fun and adventurous as this year has been.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The concert in Bed-Sty

My first apartment in New York was in Bedford Styuvesant, Brooklyn. I picked it because it’s near Fort Greene, where my New Orleans friends live, and I paid just $645 a month for my own (tiny) bedroom in a three-bedroom share. It felt a little more run-down and sketchy than Fort Greene, but it was the best I could find after moving to the city with no job.

I was staring at my computer a few months after I moved into the place when I heard the familiar sounds of a marching band outside. The drums were thumping, and suddenly voices boomed out on a microphone. I couldn’t hear what the guys were saying, but I heard a big crowd yell back in response. It sounded like a huge outdoor concert, and I was tempted to go out in search of the fun. But the skies were filled with thunderheads, and the rain had been coming down all day.

“Who in the world is giving a concert in Bed-Sty in the rain?”

Now I know. Next time I’m curious about something like this, I won’t let a little rain squash my interest. I watched the movie last night, and the whole thing seemed a lot like a rap version of Woodstock. People traveled from other states to see the show, even though they didn't know who was playing or exactly where it would happen. And I was just a few blocks away. Dammit!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Mardi Gras photos are done!

Let the pictures tell the tales for now.

There are three batches of photos for your viewing pleasure. One set shows general Mardi Gras shots: parades, the French Quarter, costumes and a few pictures of my friend Keith's former brunch palace. (You'll know it's his house when you spot the Madonna picture that still hangs in the bathroom.)

To see this slideshow, click here.

The next batch of photos is from a trip I took with some friends to the Ninth Ward. That neighborhood was one of the most devastated by the storm because the levee at the Industrial Canal gave way there. The destruction there is total, and walking around feels like exploring a graveyard. It was a thriving, working class neighborhood, and I understand that many of the residents haven't been able to get back and see the area post-Katrina.

To see the slideshow of the Ninth Ward, click here.

Finally, there's also a slideshow dedicated to Mardi Gras Day. It was the most beautiful Fat Tuesday I'd ever seen. I got out of bed to see Zulu, witnessed the Mardi Gras Indians in the Treme and wandered through the Quarter, all the way to Frenchman Street. I'm so glad I got to be part of such a glorious day.
To see the Fat Tuesday slideshow, click here.

I am so glad I was in that number.

The food. Oh, the foooood!

My mouth is watering. I remember slurping the oysters out of their cold shells and burning my lips with the boiled crawfish. Both go well with ice cold Abita beer.

I ate shrimp and oyster po'boys, Zapp's potato chips, and turkey sandwiches dressed with lettuce, tomato and mayo. I had a bowl of marvelous shrimp and grits and devoured all the dilly beans and green olives I could find.... luckily, a lot of them were hiding in Bloody Mary's. Yay!

Except for one shrimp po'boy, a sushi dinner, and a homemade meal of steak and potatoes that Keith made, I took pictures of everything I ate during Mardi Gras.
Here is the slideshow.

Friday, March 03, 2006

My ovaries just started pulsing

I don't have baby-itis. I swear I don't. But when I saw pictures of my friend Ronie's youngest baby, my ovaries twinged.
Click here if you can stand seeing cuteness incarnate. (At the site, click on galleries and then Baby Gray.)

I'm not responsible for any men who are about to find out their girlfriend's diaphrams won't hold water anymore.